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Statement: The Tatmadaw is a Genocidal Institution

Released 6 April 2021

The Iraq Project for Genocide Prevention is horrified by the violence committed by the Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw, since it ousted the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup on February 1. The Tatmadaw has targeted peaceful protesters and civilians without links to the protests across Myanmar, including the intentional killing of children as young as five years old. We wish to call attention to the Tatmadaw as a genocidal institution.

 

The violence being committed against peaceful protesters as well as civilians not involved in the protests must be understood within the context of ongoing genocide and genocidal violence against sub-dominant ethnic and religious groups, especially the Rohingya, Kachin and Karen peoples. Over decades the Tatmadaw has been utilizing with impunity the entire toolbox of genocidal violence against collectivities defined as internal enemies. In so doing, it has developed a genocidal worldview and genocidal modus operandi that it seems ready to use against the majority population when it perceives a threat to its interests. Genocidal violence is never neatly compartmentalized in one region or limited to the original targets.

 

While we at the Iraq Project recognize the difficulty faced by internal, regional, and international powers and institutions when powerful domestic forces like the Tatmadaw commit mass atrocities, we call on global and regional powers to step in immediately to pressure Myanmar to return to civilian rule and dismantle the Tatmadaw as a genocidal organization.

 

In failing to address the ongoing mass atrocities committed by the Tatmadaw, the international community has also failed completely in its responsibility to protect the people of Myanmar. Pressure must always be placed on perpetrators of mass atrocity at the first sign of such violence. Myanmar is a good example of the long-term costs of doing too little.

(c) 2021 Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention